CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time since 2012, West Virginia is above its revenue projection at the halfway mark of the fiscal year.

File

State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy

State Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy told reporters in a conference call Thursday the state collected $2.7 million above estimates for the month of Dec. 2017 and nearly $106 million ahead of where the state was last year.

“This is the third month in a row that we’ve seen what I would call ‘cautiously optimistic’ that at this point in the fiscal year, half way through, things are continuing to trend upward,” Hardy said.

In October, the state collected 99.4 percent of estimates and in November the state met 99.2 percent of estimates. Hardy called December’s numbers “encouraging.”

This past month, general revenue fund collections of $367. 5 million exceeded estimates by $16.8 million and were 11.5 percent above prior year receipts.

Personal income tax collections were up as well by about 5.6 percent ahead of last year, exceeding estimates by $21.5 million.

December State Road Fund collections of $44.9 million were $4 million below estimate, but 14.9 percent above last year’s receipts. Cumulative State Road Fund collections were $9.6 million above estimate.

According to a news release, December saw shortfalls in the following: Consumer Sales and Use (-$4.6 million), Severance (-$1.2 million below estimate, but still 30.2 percent higher than last year), B&O (-$0.3 million), and Tobacco (-$0.9 million).

The severance tax was 30.2 percent higher than it was a year ago.

Hardy said 60 percent of West Virginia’s severance tax is coal, 30 percent in natural gas and 10 percent is other.

“Even though natural gas production is clearly up and clearly part of West Virginia’s future, 60 percent of our severance tax is still related to the mining of coal,” he said.

Hardy said he expects there to be an uptick in natural gas and coal severance taxes this year.

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